I began hearing this ancient Chinese proverb when I was a child. My parents, teachers and other wise elders drummed it into me: "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
In my own VERY imperfect way, I’ve tried to live by those words for the past 77 years. Time and again they've proven true in situations that range from personal darkness (e.g., my several bouts with depression) to societal darkness (e.g., my country's long-term struggles with racial and economic injustice).
Early on, it became clear to me that candle-lighting at its best is a communal act: every candle I ever lit was ignited by the inspiration of someone else’s flame. One candle makes a difference, but things get a lot brighter as we join our lights.
Now comes an angry old white man who's running for president on a "Curse the Darkness" platform. I've looked hard to find a "candle" in his pitch. But all I can find is his menacing and petulant claim that it's Midnight in America—along with his inextinguishable belief that he and he alone knows how to summon the sun. The only thing that lights his fire is a passion for himself.
We have serious problems as a nation, problems that able people around the world have been working on for a long time, problems for which this man has offered no clear and workable solutions. But he wants me to believe that if he gets elected, from day one the economy will soar, jobs will be restored, crime will drop dramatically, terrorists will be brought to heel, and a righteous order will prevail. Right.
Dawn will not come to America, he says, unless I accept his claim that "I am your voice." Well, his voice doesn't sound like me, nor does it sound like the voice of someone who can lead us toward "a more perfect Union." I'm going to trust my long-time experience that it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness—and that the word "we" is more important than "I" and "me."
I'm going to look for candidates who understand that we're all in this together, and that we need communal light to find our way. As I have for many years, I'm going to join with fellow citizens—their number is legion—who understand that it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Seriously, how cool is Newcastle’s street art scene? Why not take a self-guided walking tour to explore over 25 murals around the city which bring a modern edge to the surrounding Victorian style terraces and heritage buildings - ow.ly/HiEC302pv9G
Ordered to amputate the limbs of deserters from the Iraqi army or be shot, Dr Munjed Al Muderis hid and fled. In the latest film in the Guardian’s series on refugees in Australia, he tells his astonishing story: how he went on to Christmas Island, spent 10 months in a detention centre and now carrie...